Surreptitiously Subjugating Our Locus of Control: Whose Choice?

Tracking what is really going on in education through what is being legally mandated means I frequently know what is crucial long before I fully grasp why the shift in practices is so important. It lets me know through the decades and all over the world, that whatever the current name and given rationale, certain aspects of people’s Identity formation, the basis for their decision making as they live their lives, and what motivates them to act and guides their perceptions are being systematically targeted. When I wrote Credentialed to Destroy I had grasped that Transformational Outcomes-Based Education (Tranzi OBE) and constructivism targeting how the world and reality is viewed were being pushed all over the English-speaking world in what appeared to be a coordinated effort to drive now drive human evolution, along with its institutions, via planned changes to culture rather than genes.

Genes just take too long for transformation plans apparently and if I have learned anything in just this year’s posts alone, we have many people in a hurry to redesign how the world works. Just last week was “Forty Years of Wicked Problem Solving” that will really make use of the new HOTS mandate in the US federal ed law that was designed to be virtually impossible to Opt Out of. Why must everyone be subjugated to such a prescription of what concepts they use to analyze wicked problems that have no fixed answer or have never been taught to the student? I think Brian Head supplied that answer in the above paper when he admitted that “the nature and significance of the policy problem is shaped through debates on ‘framing’. [No need for debate if the frames are mandated learnt predispositions set out in learning standards]. This is crucial for how the debates about problems, contexts and responses are represented…framing [is] a way of selecting, organizing, interpreting and making sense of a complex reality to provide guideposts for knowing, analysing, persuading and acting.”

So nice of governments now to dictate that, isn’t it? All in the name of High Standards and Success for All we get our very subjectivity itself mandated and then put under regular surveillance via poorly understood assessments for compliance. Apparently if someone doesn’t get caught as a K-12 student there’s always higher ed and management leadership retreats targeting that very same locus of control. Everybody suddenly wants to get at and manipulate our “perceptions, values and interests” that control “how issues are scoped” and how we will likely interpret our daily experiences. Over and over again we come across a belief that in the 21st century we must all ultimately have “shared understanding and shared meaning about the problem and possible solutions.”

What better way to do that than to use learning standards and competency framework to:

“develop this psychological capacity…to not only model and manage its external environment, but also to model and manage its internal adaptive processes. It can develop mental models of the pre-existing physical, emotional, and mental adaptive processes that determine how it behaves and acts. The models will enable it to understand consciously how its pre-existing adaptive processes operate, what useful effects they have, how they might be modified, and what the consequences might be. Through self-knowledge they will develop the capacity to gain control over their internal adaptive processes. Increasingly, this will enable them to manage their physical actions, emotional and motivational states, and their beliefs and other mental processes in whatever ways are necessary”

to fit with whatever learning experiences a school mandates and whatever objectives and outcomes it now imposes. That passage really struck me because the Principals and School Supers most aggressive in pushing this vision tend to be the ones being promoted now to ever more lucrative job opportunities. Is this what any parent imagines as higher student achievement? Yet every legal instrument from statutes, to charters, to what HOTS assesses, actually gets at manipulating, and then tracking via data whether the desired adaptions are occurring to these internal adaptive processes. If the same new prescribed “norms, moral beliefs, and other rules of behaviour” can become instilled across a large group as “learnt predispositions” governments will have successfully created a common internal manager guiding future behaviour with nary a heads up, much less consent.

If that seems to be overly ambitious, let me quote that “a distributed internal manager is formed of a set of hard-wired predispositions that are reproduced in each of the members of a group of organisms…[Student-centered learning sounds so much better,doesn’t it?] A distributed internal manager clearly has the potential to organize a group cooperatively…so that they treat others in the group as self… or by hardwiring specific cooperative behaviours in individuals.” In other words, all these plans we keep encountering from UN Sustainable Development Goals to supposedly Balanced Communitarian visions in the name of Founding Principles, Learning Liberty, or a New Golden Rule can all be put into effect through the right type of prescribed learning experiences.

In this vision “each individual is controlled by its particular set of predispositions”, which he or she may not even know were instilled intentionally from preschool through higher ed. The group as a whole can only be controlled and coordinated if a “common set of predispositions is reproduced across the group.” How does the Common Core ever actually go away if it is about hardwiring learnt predispositions? If we wonder why, we have a confession that “if we had different emotional goals and motivations, our technology would be different, as would our systems of government and other social arrangements.”

Sounds like learning standards and competency frameworks then prescribed for the vast majority of students would be a highly effective way to invisibly alter ‘civil society’, just as so many of my links have laid out is the current aim. Just have education or that weekend seminar or management retreat target the “internal adaptive goals” of students, an executive team, or all too often, the elected members of your local school board or private school trustees go through learning experiences that are actually designed to alter their ‘psychological software’, even if the supplied promotional materials and consent forms deny that. It’s the practices that matter and when those practices and participatory experiences whether in a school, woods, or luxury hotel are designed to force someone to “drop their emotional attachments to any ideas, attitudes, beliefs, norms, values, religious systems and moral principles,” we have a targeting of this psychological capacity to change internal adaptive processes.

This ‘distributed internal management’ is an excellent way to prescribe planned and coerced transformations starting at the level of the individual mind and personality without their being the telltale levers of control of a gulag or overt censorship. We should all be alarmed to know such plans exist and that they fit how learning standards work so well. “The hold of the manager over the individual would be greatly strengthened if the individual’s mental modelling of the world led him to believe that the codes and norms were in his best interests” is not a phrase any parent wants to read as the school year starts, but it is essential to grasp how these plans actually work. This is not just a matter of the UN and admitted progressives wanting to use education to fulfill John Dewey’s desire to instill the habits and dispositions essential for his vision of democracy.

I have been looking at Classical Education for a while and the deceitful narratives designed to support it. It too, at its core, seems to want to alter the fact that “particularly in the last two hundred years, a significant proportion of individuals in more complex human societies has developed a strong capacity to use internal linear modelling to critically evaluate their own beliefs.” Apparently that will not do, because our “behaviour is now guided largely by internal reward systems that are mostly self-centred, except for the legacy of the kin selection and reciprocal altruism mechanisms.” Those don’t reconcile us to the desired communitarian ethos prescribed for the 21st century so we get the Good, True, and Beautiful instilled for us and new definitions of Freedom and Liberty. It’s for our own good you see. Needed to solve those wicked problems as a matter of public policy.

Learning standards, properly understood, have “the potential to change how each of us sees ourself, what we do with our life, and the meaning and purpose we see in our individual existence.” Too important to be a matter of personal choice, these have become a matter of prescribed public policy imposed surreptitiously using the law to force compliance with a vision that isn’t our own in most cases.

Shouldn’t we all be aware? If “our thoughts, beliefs, motivations and emotional states, as well as the methods we use to influence them, must become objects of consciousness” so that we can be forced to develop new “psychological software”, don’t we get to at least see what is to be altered and why?

Isn’t actual knowledge, instead of prescribed conceptual ‘frames’, the only way to avoid what has been quietly put in place in a most coordinated manner? Especially with the commencement of the new school year?

Parents may well be rejoicing in achievement that can quite frankly be more accurately seen as brainwashing when properly understood.

What happens to the student or adult who is forced into adopting “new psychological software” despite their reluctance to change?

Somehow it seems likely to be more impactful than a notation “doesn’t have a Growth Mindset”?

 

 

Eureka Moments Pierce Through the Hoax to Hype Student Privacy to Control Student’s Minds and Actions

A Eureka Moment is when a piercing epiphany takes an area of concern over the effects I am seeing from some education reform and I discover that those very effects were part of the original design. It’s not as dangerous as a heroic rescue from a Thai cave, but it may be about as painstaking in its approach to detail. Regular readers know that I have been concerned for a while, especially in discussions in the comments of these posts over the last two years or so that the widely circulated narratives surrounding student privacy and the social and emotional learning standards simply do not track to the documentable facts about how learning standards like the Common Core or a competency framework really work.

The second Eureka moment I will lay out was the one I wrote the previous post while expecting to explain it here and tie together a trilogy of disclosures around GDPR. That was before I saw a reference on the Acknowledgments page to the 2013 book Big Data to a Rueschlikon Conference on Information Policy that seemed to be linked through some of the same people to that Eureka Moment. Searching that out pulled up the ultimate epiphany as I learned a new earth shaking term-‘data-driven governance’ and the recommended technique–education–to gain control over people’s thoughts, emotions, and motivations to act while pretending that the regulation is a dispute over how and what to teach or, necessary to protect student privacy. The 2017 article in the European Journal of Social Theory was called “Digital, politics, and algorithms: Governing digital data through the lens of data protection.”

‘Data-driven governance’ turns out to “lie at the very heart of governing people and things” so that we begin to “understand governance not as a set of institutions, nor in terms of certain ideologies, but as an eminently practical activity that can be studied, historicised and specified at the level of the rationalities, programmes, techniques and subjectivities that give it form and effect” to quote from the above article. If you want to believe that is not what learning standards, learning technology standards, Project Unicorn, and interoperability standards actually do, when they are accurately described instead of misexplained for purposes of creating the hype that gets more data regulation like GDPR, let me quote from a different book called Reinventing Data Protection? which described the shift from a disciplinary society with a multiplicity of ‘detention’ facilities to a “control society that can increasingly do without physical constraint and direct surveillance [because] it is individuals themselves who have to impose themselves not only to respect but also to adhere to the norms, who have to integrate those norms in their biography, through their own actions and reiterations.”

If that creates a gulp moment how about the desire to accomplish these feats via the italicized “will to govern through data and the will to govern data“? All the False Narratives I have encountered and fought to dispel through my book Credentialed to Destroy, and subsequently through this blog as they arise, make perfect sense suddenly if the accurate truth might defeat the desire of the “socio-political actors” funding those narratives and enacting the tools of ‘data-driven governance’, to “straightforwardly implement technologies of governance without meeting any kind of resistance.” In other words, FERPA redrafting or Student Data privacy Toolkits will not do anything to impede the data-driven governance agenda and GDPR actually helps cements it.

Let me give another example, on June 26, 2018 Cheri Kiesecker wrote a post for the Missouri Education Watchdog blog that mentioned a World Bank paper as supposedly bolstering the workforce readiness agenda. I had previously been mystified by Cheri’s work on Project Unicorn as it appears contrary to documentable facts so I read the linked “From Compliance to Learning” paper that covered “harnessing the power of data in the state of Maryland.” The report confirmed my continuing concern that the False Narrative treats student data as a static database instead of the changes in the student at an internalized, neural, level, which are what constitute “learning.” Secondly, in the “institutionalizing a data System” the paper accurately lays out how Project Unicorn really works without calling it that. It explains in ways pertinent to ‘data-driven governance:

“Across the public, private, and social sectors in the United States, an array of organizations, associations, and communities helps to expand and institutionalize data utilization by strengthening data standards and easing interoperability issues…The first category, Consistent Data Definitions, focuses on providing a common language and structure for data, a necessary step that makes it possible to share data across different systems and applications. Structuring data so that the data can be used across different systems makes institutionalization possible. From an International perspective, UNESCO’s International Standards Classification of Education (ISCED) is a similar framework that enables comparison of educational statistics and indicators across countries on the basis of uniform and internationally agreed definitions. ISCED 2011 is the most recently revised version of the framework.”

And precisely what I warned about in the previous post that the Common Core was benchmarked to. It’s a means of governing through data at the level of the mind and personality and it has nothing to do with PII. I promised two Eureka moments and the second intends to use “bottom-up standards”  https://globalcxi.org/ where “systems thinking can help us avoid repeating past failures stemming from attempts to control and govern the complex-adaptive systems we are a part of. Responsible living with or in the systems we are a part of requires an awareness of the constrictive paradigms we operate in today. Our future practices will be shaped by our individual and collective imaginations and by the stories we tell about who we are and what we desire, for ourselves and the societies in which we live.”

Of course education standards get at those levels quite well and the co-sponsor, along with MIT Media Lab, is an entity called IEEE that also happens to have created the Learning Technology Standards that are a part of Project Unicorn when it is properly described. Good reason I suppose not to accurately describe it lest there be that warned  about resistance. I revisited IEEE’s involvement recently after I cited the Hoover paper on math that did not reflect what the Center for Curriculum Redesign said was the new global purpose of math activities. One of the co-authors, Ze-ev Wurman, was shown as now working for IEEE, which seemed awfully coincidental. He has been speaking at Anti-Common Core forums for years. A bit more research into the acclaim for GDPR as supposedly protecting student privacy instead of enabling noetic manipulation led me to discover that Wurman is also listed as a fellow at the American Principles Project that has done so much to create so many of the False Narratives surrounding K-12 education reforms.

It also bolstered my instinct that articles like this recent https://spectator.org/goodbye-privacy-how-new-edtech-is-turning-students-into-lab-rats/ hype function to create a demand for “data protection” that magically turns into an enacted tool of ‘data-driven governance” per international design. CXI Global wants to “develop and use broader metrics…that governs setting goals and measuring success…These metrics for success must be utilized in the setting of standards, ethical principles and policy that holistically reflect the explicit values and expectations of the communities where metrics are deployed.” We always get back to that communitarian and normative function, don’t we? We actually don’t need to speculate either on the specific type of education desired for the “evolution of our species” that will “serve inclusive and sustainable development that increases political autonomy and global democracy.”

The CXI vision cites to the template on “Happiness and Well-Being Policy as embodied in the first Global Happiness Policy Report,” which I happened to have read when it came out in February when it was released at the World Government Summit in Dubai. It pushes a vision of Positive Education that I noted after last year’s summit aligns with Betsy Devos’ rhetoric and recommended policies. http://invisibleserfscollar.com/subservient-and-malleable-students-devos-federalizes-our-moral-obligations/ What this year’s released report adds in that Policy Report is an address at the end that ties the entire agenda to a seminary across the street from Riverside Church near the Columbia University campus. In other words, what happened in Dubai was never meant to stay in Dubai at all.

Getting at the true function of data in education is not a side issue at all. I think it is why the Program on Education Policy and Governance is housed at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as well as that Rueschlikon Conference I mentioned above. It may take place in lovely Switzerland but the Information Infrastructure Project apparently includes you and me and our children and grandchildren even if we never make it to Switzerland at all. Let me close with a recent blog post tied to this agenda https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/blog/understanding-the-potential-of-ai-for-lifelong-learning-the-need-for-a-critical-perspective/ because the goals, outcomes, prescribed learning, and metrics created for us and embodied in learning standards few will accurately describe are intended to create and “support a democratic and socially inclusive future.”

Without accurate information we are left tilting at windmills while all these plans avoid the needed scrutiny that would cause virtually all of us to resist. I hope these Eureka Moments can be the beginning of the resistance that is not bound up in narratives on data that serve as useful Guiding Fictions that actually enable ‘data-driven governance’ in the 21st century.

 

Missing That Invite for More Strenuous Forms of Soulcraft to Erect the Formative Project?

Me too, but as usual following up on coordinated deceitful narratives like I laid out in the previous post led to pay dirt. So today let’s try to avoid using the M word at all and focus on the related upfront transformational plans laid out once we know where to look. It even pops up in that long-winded Sermon of Love by Bishop Michael Curry at the Meghan Markle/Prince Harry wedding if we are familiar with Curry’s Beloved Community work that the Episcopal Church launched in May 2017. The so-called Formative Project is a belief that governments at every level (not just the federal that the False Narrative always wants to make the Bogeyman) have an obligation NOT to be “neutral towards the values and ends that its citizens espouse.” If your dictionary isn’t handy think of ‘espouse’ as a fancier term for what ‘motivates’ people to act and then remember that this aim is precisely what ‘learning standards’ like the Common Core or any competency frameworks also want to target for control.

Before I quote further from a seminal 1996 book by Harvard law prof and communitarian Michael Sandel called Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy, I want to pull this broader discussion of why K-12 education reforms matter to broader plans to a MYWays document that came out this week. https://s3.amazonaws.com/nglc/resource-files/MyWays_06CompetencyList.pdf sets out “Habits of Success–for learning, work, and well-being”; “Creative Know How–for a novel, complex world”; “Content knowledge–for the life students will lead”; and “Wayfinding Abilities–for destinations unknown” that get at what a student has internalized as beliefs, concepts, and values that motivate behavior and guide perception.

That internalized mindset is what learning standards always target and the euphemisms used to obscure this common aim vary from “self-discipline” per the Fordham Institute this week and also Grit advocate Angela Duckworth (who also heads up a Character lab). The OECD calls it ‘self-regulation’ and says it is the central purpose of education globally in the 21st century.  Sandel, Hillsdale College, and the Heritage Foundation all seem to prefer the term ‘self-government’. However these entities bill themselves on the political spectrum, these euphemisms function the same as what Sandel terms as a “republican conception of freedom” and liberty, which “requires a formative politics, a politics that cultivates in citizens the qualities of character self-government requires.”

That vision of changing the person, which I guess we could euphemise as “student-centered learning” like Jeb Bush and the Aspen Institute like to do, needs a new kind of education. K-12 students get the MyWays Competencies or some kind of formative pillars or Portrait of a Graduate laying out the person they are to become. Adults get something like the Antiracism Training Manual of the Episcopal Church Seeing the Face of God in Each Other https://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/antiracism_book-revise3.pdf to lay out “a theology of inclusion and justice for our work in this time and place in our history” or the http://www.reclaimingjesus.org/sites/default/files/downloads/reclaiming_jesus_civil_discourse_curriculum_2018_1.pdf which lays the Curry Agenda beyond just the Episcopal Church that led him to a Candlelight Vigil at the White House the week after the wedding.

Everybody seems to want to use institutions like churches, the media, and schools to dictate what we are all to believe in the future and what we are to act to bring about in a collective, non-individualistic manner. Let’s get back to those plans in Sandel’s book (that I really did find following up on something odd the Hoover Institution wrote) as he wants us to move away from the procedural republic we have been for the last 50 or so years according to him (that would be 70 years now in 2018) and use our social institutions to instill in students and adults the “capacity to deliberate well about the common good.” In order to be able to engage in the (required for our own good so that we are no longer ‘discontent’) roles of “sharing in self-rule…then citizens must possess certain excellences–of character, judgment, and concern for the whole.” Also remember that since we live in the world of K-12 that mandates Success for All and churches now want Inclusion for All, both visions effectively mean:

“…given the demands of republican citizenship [we could substitute Beloved Community, depending on our audience, with no real loss of meaning], the more expansive the bounds of membership, the more demanding the task of cultivating virtue. In Aristotle’s polis, the formative task was to cultivate virtue among a small group of people who shared a common life and a natural bent for citizenship. When republican thought turns democratic, however, and when the natural bent of persons to be citizens can no longer be assumed, the formative project becomes more daunting. The task of forging a common citizenship among a vast and disparate people invites more strenuous forms of soulcraft.”

Not usually what a parent has in mind when they hear the euphemism “learning experiences”, but at least we know now why social and emotional learning is so ubiquitous and embedded in daily activities. Sandel, by the way, called the idea that “liberty can be detached from the exercise of self-government and conceived instead as the capacity of persons to choose their own ends…the voluntarist conception of freedom, [which]…no longer needs soulcraft, except in a limited domain.” No wonder we get euphemisms like parental or school choice or the classical theory of education so that political power anywhere in the 21st century is “accorded a stake in the character of its citizens”, whatever their wishes. We should be wary of the term ‘civil society’  too when we read Sandel concluding with:

“different forms of political association would govern different spheres of life and engage different aspects of our identities. Only a regime that disperses sovereignty both upward and downward can combine the power required to rival global market forces with the differentiation required of a public life that hopes to inspire the reflective allegiance of its citizens.”

Is it treasonous to say “No Thanks”? That a formative project of governments enabled through the human mind and deceitfully euphemised about by philanthropies and the think tanks, professors, media outlets, and others they pay is no way to successfully run the 21st century, no matter how much data is now available?

How many people now reflexively use the term “self-government” to mean I am my own person and should be able to select my own ends in life? In the last post, we noted that what now turn out to be some of the same actors pushing this coercive vision of self-government were not being accurate in describing King’s Agenda, at least by the end of his life. If you look at the Beloved Community materials through the links provided, have any Familiarity with the Marxist Humanist agenda from earlier posts, and look at what Sandel wants to solve Democracy’s Discontent, they are all headed to the same place. They also all need a new vision for education. As Sandel notes:

“To assimilate the civil rights movement to the liberalism of the procedural republic is to miss its most important lessons for our time. More than a means to equal rights, the movement itself was a movement of empowerment, an instance of the civic strand of freedom. The laws that desegregated public facilities and secured voting rights for blacks served freedom in the voluntarist sense–the freedom to choose and pursue one’s purposes and ends. But the struggle to win these rights displayed a higher, republican freedom–the freedom that consists in acting collectively to shape the public world.”

We, and especially our children caught up in these related education reforms, are involved with a Formative (re)Project hiding behind deceit and euphonious euphemisms like liberty, freedom, and high standards for all. At their core though, these are all psychological changes being sought in each of us “aimed at the moral and civic ‘transformation of a whole people’. Our minds and personalities targeted for political purposes to transform the neural levels that “tell the tales that order our lives.”

The only way out is to understand it and I seriously doubt it was any accident that the MyWays document was put out the week of so many Memorial Day vacations when few but the designated change makers would ever read it.

Levers and Logic Models: A Framework to Guide Research and Design of High-Quality Competency-Based Education Systems

came out the same day. Remember Logic Models turn out to be a euphemism used for Evidence-Based Policymaking that turned out to be another euphemism for scientific techniques employed in the name of that word we were not going to use today.

Methinks someone views summertime as a wonderful time to get significant changes in place without anyone paying alarming attention. If it’s pretty where you are, just read these summer posts on a rainy day.

Some times people tell me they are best read with a stiff drink anyway.

Rising Like a Phoenix from the Ashes Despite Repeated Autopsies and Pretend Burials

The last line about Pretend Burials is my addition to a quote I took from a translated book from 1970 called Three Faces of Marxism .The active disinformation campaign we started looking at in the last post contradicts the informed contents of that Leonhard book, which quoted one Eastern European after another from the 1950s and 60s on the “true renaissance of Marxism … that is the beginning of an event, the beginning of something historic that concerns the future of us all.” I think that same something is going on now and it’s behind the documentable deceit surrounding (1) what learning standards like the Common Core are and why they are needed; (2) the determined effort starting in the late 80s to pretend the MH aspiration never existed and pretend that Soviet Communism=Marxism; and (3) the misrepresentation of what Martin Luther King aspired to engineer through civil rights laws and in the name of the Beloved Community that essentially coincides with the MH aspiration and the purpose of learning standards.

That interconnection woke me up over the weekend and covering this up made me think of the need for pretend burials to protect these theories from the infamy of their history. If you think I am being disrespectful to Dr King, last week I noticed that part of the brigade pushing the organized disinfo campaign about the Common Core was involved with “The Life and Legacy of The Reverend Dr Martin Luther King” https://www.baylor.edu/washington/index.php?id=951374 .The event was somehow sold out before it was even publicly announced. That suggested to me that KIng’s legacy and the civil rights laws and their use to push Equity and Excellence in education had turned into a vehicle for something else that King may or may not have imagined. Since one of the speakers, Cornel West, wrote a book on the ethical dimensions of Marx’s thought I had an idea what that theory might be.

Since Excellence in education means to combine what is felt, thought, and desired into a single active performance, learning standards are an awfully practical vehicle for gaining access to a means of invisibly implementing those ethical dimensions. That insight turned out to be true as I tracked down another book West had written in that momentous year of 1989 where the MH vision seems to have been renamed as ‘prophetic pragmatism’ with John Dewey and his Democratic Education as its exemplar. Ding. Ding. No need to follow just bread crumbs anymore as everyone who has read Credentialed to Destroy will appreciate, but West went on to quote the architect of the MH view of culture and the role of action (praxis), Antonio Gramsci, and his desire for “a new cultural process, different in character from its predecessors,  a process in which practical movement [performance standards like the Common Core?] and theoretical thought [like Enduring Understandings or Thinking Like a Historian?] are united [Higher Order Thinking Skills?] (or are trying to unite through a struggle that is both theoretical and practical).”

See the role of learning standards in these goals of real world transformation and a reimagined future? See why we keep coming across a push to pretend Marxism has no interest in ideas even though categories of thought are actually front and center to the whole scheme? West himself wanted to shift the conception of knowledge to something that would promote “power-laden people’s opinion” as a means of engineering his desired “culture of creative democracy by means of critical intelligence and social action.” Sounds like the MH vision again and after all I have these old books telling me that back in the 1960s there had been “a renaissance of Marxist thinking” that had begun to “crack the ice of Stalinism and to become a stream once more.” A similar observation proclaimed that “After several decades of grave crisis, we may today speak with assurance of a renaissance of Marxism. It rises like a phoenix from the ashes even though it has repeatedly been subjected to an autopsy.”

It’s much harder to autopsy something that is supposedly buried and past history. If renaming it allows a theory to be operative without scrutiny or infamy that’s an excellent reason for deceit. Sure enough when I looked into whether that renaissance in a certain perspective influenced Dr King I found https://acton.org/publications/transatlantic/2018/01/15/3-reasons-martin-luther-king-jr-rejected-communism a recent attempt to misrepresent what MLK believed from a think tank active in pushing School Choice and once again falsely treating Communism and Marxism as synonymous. That whitewashing makes perfect sense if School Choice is actually a Trojan Horse to spread that unity of “practical movement and theoretical thought” in every type of school or education initiative. Let’s compare to this http://ownershipeconomy.net/2015/08/30/martin-luther-king-called-for-a-higher-synthesis/ as well as http://rajpatel.org/2010/01/18/martin-luther-king-we-are-not-interested-in-being-integrated-into-this-value-structure/ and we get a more accurate feel for where Dr King fits with our MH template.

It turns out that everywhere we look into this vision of how to bring about a more just society sooner or later we find a forthright declaration of the need for “comprehensive information” and a new value structure that will be the “powerful force for altering the internal psychological structure of a human being”. We learn that a NEW kind of education is needed that will “develop the skills and deep habits of partnership and working across differences…the work of rebuilding our world requires a revitalization of abilities to see beyond what is to what can be. [This] combines a sacred and public spirit with the work of culture change to rebuild the moral and civic fabric of our society.” Now if that spirit gets wrapped up in the Good, True, and Beautiful or as a return to “the principles of America’s founding” will anyone notice the shift in the definitions or principles from what is historically accurate?

The three areas of deceit not only come together when MH is properly understood, but framing as a civil rights issue brings in the rule of law as the enforcer. If we compare the quotes from my last post or in the comments there to Leonhard laying out the disdain of the USSR as representing a ‘historically transient form of socialism”; and “the humanist Marxists of different countries all agreed that neither the economic model of the Soviet Union (state ownership of the means of production; economic management by central, hierarchically structured planning), nor the political structure of the Soviet Union (dictatorial rule of the Party apparatus over all spheres of social life” and compare that with what so many so-called ‘conservative’ or libertarian think tanks are telling us Marxism is about, it is clear there is even more of an organized disinfo campaign trying to hide the MH vision than there is over what the Common Core is and what competency-based ed is really about.

Student-centered learning as the convergent aspiration pushed by the Aspen Institute, Jeb Bush, and iNACOL makes sense once we know that “the humanist Marxists consider it necessary to move the human problem once more into the foreground of Marxist theory.” Sounds just like King’s ‘higher synthesis’ and what the state of Massachusetts recently said was the inspiration for all standards-based ed reforms. Personalized learning and Betsy DeVos’ repeated hype that students be educated to their’ full potential’ fits right in with the MH “emphasis on man as the starting and finishing point, as the ultimate objective of the entire practical and theoretical work of Marxism.”

If ‘human socialism’ or ‘the socialism of self management’ need ‘ ideas and concepts’ to become operational and “create the social and political prerequisites for any further development,” suddenly all the deceit about outcomes-based ed in the 90s, and the Common Core and the reasons for data collection now, makes sense. It is no longer a shock that when we looked at the National Constitution Center’s curricula we found communitarian redefinitions of Liberty and Freedom. The deceit makes sense if we understand MH theory from Kolakowski’s actual books instead of lectures about him. Perhaps we should remind Mr Kimball from the last post that Kolakowski quoted MH theorist Erich Fromm who “regards the Manuscripts of 1844 as the fundamental exposition of Marx’s doctrine…Totalitarian doctrines and Communist regimes have in his view nothing in common with Marx’s humanistic vision, the chief values of which are voluntary solidarity, the expansion of man’s creative powers, freedom from constraint and from irrational authority.”

Just the way learning standards and competency frameworks really work and consistent with West acknowledging that he needed Gramsci’s thinking to get to his desired social transformations. We also have Kolakowski marvelling at how Gramsci and Marx got to the same place even though Marx’s manuscripts were still not known when Gramsci went to prison in the 20s. Both men were interested in “the question of the relation of human thoughts, feelings, and will to ‘objective’ social processes.” I just boldfaced those words to remind everyone that those words combined are what the definition of Excellence in K-12 actually means and what the civil rights laws are imposing in the name of Equity. I am going to close with a quote that in my mind connects all these aims to why these psychologically transformative techniques for a political purpose may be partly behind the rise of mass school shootings in places using them.

Kolakowski was greatly worried decades ago about Herbert Marcuse and his advocacy for an “ultimate all-embracing synthesis in which thoughts, feelings, and desires are merged in a higher ‘unity’. Such an aspiration is only possible when a totalitarian myth claims supremacy over thought–a myth based on ‘deeper’ intuition, so that it does not have to justify itself, but assumes command over the whole of spiritual and intellectual life.” Kolakowski was right to be worried, but wrong that this desired unity would have to be accomplished by “replacing the tyranny of logic with a police tyranny.” Learning standards represent another way to get around what he said has been “corroborated by all historical experience: there is only one way of making a whole society accept a particular world-view.”

If no one can recognize the psychological manipulation and there is organized deceit around learning standards, Marxism, and Dr King’s vision, who can even see the coercion creating the desired worldview? Once we can see what is being imposed through the mind and learning standards, we can share Kolakowski’s concern of what will happen when power decides that “normative essences must prevail in every domain.” Like him, we may come to see that the words Freedom and Liberty are being used in ways that have “taken on the contrary of its normal sense.”

But that requires accurate factual information and that’s the last thing this vision of education for the future has in store for us or our children.

Hijacking Concepts to Control a Student’s Framing, Sense-Making, and Thus Their Minds

This post arose from my watching two different videos in the last month that left me deeply disturbed at the implications. The first was Learn Liberty’s “Marxism Explained in 2 Minutes” by Deirdre McCloskey where she said “Ideas themselves create consciousness. It’s not an outgrowth of the world’s material condition and the class struggle as Marx believed.” All of my extensive collection of books on what I shorthand as the MH philosophy–Marxist Humanism–regard Marx as believing that Ideas matter very much because they guide and motivate action in the present to change the nature of the future by transforming the nature of society. After I finished researching this post, we had the 200th anniversary this past weekend of Uncle Karl’s birth. This generated yet more pushes like this https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/05/karl_marx_at_200_his_lethal_legacy_lingers.html pushing the idea that Marxism=Stalinism in Russia and that Marx did not believe Ideas mattered.

If Ideas do matter in the MH vision and especially if the needed ideas can be sales pitched as ‘conservative,’ ‘grounded in the principles of America’s founding,’ or ‘necessary for self-governance’, then the MH vision comes roaring into everyday perception and actions via a new kind of education that gets at the neural structure of the mind and sells it as ‘learning to think critically’. That last quote was from a recent Freedom Center video touting the need for a Code of Ethics in K-12 and rightly complaining of Indoctrination. My problem though is that if the admitted Left wants a child to perceive and act through White Privilege or Racism as the motivating Category of Thought and the so-called Right hyping for School Choice wants the Child to think using “Do the Good. Seek the Truth. Create Beauty,” they are both providing Categories of Thought. All these concepts are designed to change behavior in the present in order to transform existing society by altering prevailing consciousness.

See the problem? We have “conceptually synonymous lexical” phrases with the same function. If the MH vision is all about transforming ourselves and the world, we are headed down a troubling pathway with nary a head’s up as to what is really going on. I said there were two troubling videos. The other was a speech David Horowitz of the Freedom Center gave to a Young America’s Foundation luncheon on March 16 at the Reagan Ranch that was touted as “Unveiling the Left’s Agenda of Destruction”. Horowitz used language about America’s inspirational vision that “all people are equal in the eyes of God and therefore must be equal in the eyes of government and that they are endowed by their Creator with the right to Liberty” that reminded me a great deal of the humanistic slogans used in the MH vision.

That created my working hypothesis that if the Left and Right can create shared understandings and motivating ideals in a substantial group of people under a variety of names and rationales, then the MH vision, especially in its cybernetic form, can come waltzing into the America that we love, or other free societies, without people being aware. Saying Marx didn’t care about Ideas makes that easier to do. Taking noted MH philosophers who fled to the West and taught, like Leszak Kolakowski, and then misrepresenting their criticism of what they called they called wrongheaded fallacy of Institutional Marxism of Stalinism as being what Totalitarianism is all about as this paper did https://www.newcriterion.com/issues/2005/6/leszek-kolakowski-the-anatomy-of-totalitarianism or giving essentially the same speech at a Hillsdale College forum in October 2017 on Soviet Communism and never mentioning all of Kolakowski’s MH work means that not only do Ideas matter, but few people even trying to listen in the 21st Century are likely to hear an honest representation of the continuing collective goals that must be accomplished via the mind.

Unlike Kimball, I did not study under LK at Yale in the early 70s, but I do happen to have his translated into English book from 1968 called Toward a Marxist Humanism so we do have some ability to still eavesdrop on what must have been said. Contrary to what McCloskey stated above the MH philosophy is very much desirous of “replacing economic laws” with the “influence of ideology”. We should be very afraid in 2018 with all the talk all over the world of evidence-based policymaking that LK wrote that “theoretical knowledge of society continues to be a condition for the successful struggle of the communist movement.” Remember how I keep warning about a little c vision that we keep encountering as a communitarian ethos hiding behind supposedly conservative terms like Liberty and Freedom?

LK wrote a great deal about the need to gain control over “man’s conceptual apparatus” so that what was True would not be about whether a theory accurately described existing circumstances. It would be measured by whether a Theory was useful in motivating action to Change Circumstances. “Is the model useful?” would become a new criteria of truth. That might explain all the false narratives we have encountered surrounding education reforms that seem to be financed by the same think tanks or philanthropies now driving a misperception of Marxism as a historic philosophy of how to change the future via Ideas that are believed and that drive changes in behavior. LK knew the necessity of getting at people’s “intellectual organization of material” that were “an integral part of the most elementary activities of the human mind.”

Imagine the transformative power of first prescribing, and then being aware of, what a student was internalizing as a Habit of Mind that would then guide his seeing “the world in such terms and from such points of view as are necessary for him to adapt to it and transform it usefully.” And predictably too in known ways if you happen to be the prescriber aware of what the Categories of Thought are that are being inculcated into a student’s “conceptual apparatus.” What makes something totalitarian is actually not the existence of a gulag, but rather prescribing the categories that “constitute the total apparatus of concepts permitted in use and [that] are imposed as the sole and obligatory system of organizing one’s thinking.” Anyone not recognizing that concern of LK’s having been made operational in the new federal law that applies to the next school year’s requirement that all students must be assessed at least Higher Order Thinking Skills and whether they guide behavior?

When Horowitz said in that same video mentioned above that the new Code of Ethics was needed because “You can’t indoctrinate young people. You have to let them make up their own minds,” I couldn’t understand how that rhetoric could be squared with how Learning Standards actually work or his call to Teach the students to Think Critically. Critical Thought requires the use of prescribed abstract categories. How is that actually making up your own mind? It seems more like the semblance of autonomy where the actual coercion gets internalized and becomes the driver of our decision-making but out of OUR sight (but not the prescribers in education, philanthropy, or the think tanks).

Here’s another quote from 1964 discussing the role of cybernetics in the USSR after Stalin’s death unlocked the Role of Ideas again. These same ideas were coming to the US, which is why Notre Dame’s Press published the book The Social Impact of Cybernetics and we should all be aware that “the abstract ideology or the utopia expressed in concrete terms plays a critical role in defining social purpose and hence in conditioning social decisions.” Acting on goals is one of the hallmarks of competency-based education all over the world so its ties to cybernetics and the real MH aims become clear when we read that “action upon the environment is regulated by a continuing process of perception in which the perceived external reality is compared with the end state to be achieved.”

Is Project-Based Learning then about academics to be learned or simply a means to change the child at the level of their mind and personality? If you think changing the child neurally will always come with rhetoric about social justice, any category of thought that seeks to impose a “viable system of value and perceptual relevance (ideologies)” will actually do. Notice the same language from Classical Education and the Barney Charter School Initiative being used back in 1965 from “The Development of Cybernetics” in The American Behavioral Scientist: “Hence in dealing with social systems in which men form the ultimate self-regulating components, we must deal with the problem of the adequacy of perception and of value to effective action within a natural and human environment. The analysis of men and societies as self-regulating systems brings us back to the perennial philosophic problems of the Good and the True.

We need to consider now whether all the deceit about the Common Core and now Marxism may well be hidden in language about ‘conservative thought’ or ‘principles of self-governance’ as used in this press release. http://www.bradleyfdn.org/Portals/1/PDF%20Files/GEORGE%20WILL_Press%20Release-23Apr2018.pdf .After all, one of the other historic terms for the MH vision that I did not have a chance to cover yet is the “socialism of self-management”.

What if self-governance, self-regulation, self-discipline, and self-management are all conceptual synonyms describing a person with the desired internalized systems of thought and value that can act as a steerable rudder for anyone with power who knows they exist? That would be the MH vision of Freedom and Liberty and that really should give us pause.

We are all in agreement though that Ideas do Matter. It’s why they need to be known and discussed accurately and not just in terms of their Usefulness for Social Planning Purposes.

True Norths, Steerable Rudders, Heuristics Control, and Circumscribed Minds

Now that we have finished that Trilogy, let’s put the parts together since I happen to have https://democracylab.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Democracy-Lab_Anthology-on-Democratic-Innovation_final-1.pdf explaining that this vision of ‘education and action learning’ can generate ‘shared understandings’ that will become the “building blocks for a new DNA of thriving democracy” and the “conscious evolution of our social systems.” That’s why Learn Liberty from the last post and its “Heuristics” video call for “Intellectual Humility” euphemized the same type of sought change. Instead, we are instructed to  begin “recognizing the flawed nature of [our] thinking [as] a bold first step to challenging it” and “be humble about our views.” Yet those of us paying attention will recognize this aim as functioning just like Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset as something all 21st century students globally should now have.

The part the admitted transformationalists via ed, and the purported “How to Think” School Choice ‘conservatives’, leave out is that they are both interested in creating what that Democratic Innovation blueprint called “Inner Work, self and meta-reflection as core competencies for a new OS.” If OS is not yet a recognized acronym in your busy life, it stands for Operating System just like your computer. That’s right. In the name of social and political change, your child’s very hardware and operating software, also known as their mind and personality, along with the biological brain and the central nervous system that embody both, are being targeted. Why? Because “we need to grow as human beings” and “develop a vision and an understanding of who we are and how we can internally host the rapid changes and become self-aware participants in the current transformation process.”

Hard not to visualize some of those marching Parkland or other high school students reading that passage, isn’t it? That blueprint included a quote from a name, Roberto Unger, who I recognized as a Harvard law prof [see tag] and it turned out he had written his vision of education in a book called The Religion of the Future. I think he is interested in a new Operating System as well, see what you think:

“In a free society, the individual has the educational equipment, as well as the economic and political occasion, to cross the frontier between the activities that take the framework for granted and those that bring it into question. He has been educated in a way that enables the mind as imagination to become ascendent over the mind as machine. He has learned to philosophize by acting [Parkland again and ‘action learning’ generally], in the sense that he recognizes in every project the seed of some great or small reformation. The practices of society and of culture multiply opportunities for the affirmation of this preeminence of the mind as imagination over the mind as a formulaic device.”

The “mind as imagination” is likely humble in its views and that ‘formulaic device’ slur sounds much like the Fixed Mindset insult or the supposedly discredited Axemaker Mind, doesn’t it? There turns out to be quite the consistence between the admitted Left and the supposed Right in the new kind of thinking and internalized OS each is pushing in the name of K-12 education. The better to get to a dialectical Convergence apparently. It all aligns with the Idea-centric vision we saw with History Matters, Thinking Like a Historian, and the News Literacy Project. All these curricula create internalized “shared understandings” that can be used to “design impactful projects and policies” so that “the political system can be transformed in such a way that we can adequately deal with our current environmental, social and ethical challenges and create the kind of world we want to live in.”

That willingness to transform needs new values and Ideas. Unger called it–“our vision of who we are and what we can hope for.” It also requires a willingness to be malleable in our dealings with other people–Intellectual Humility. All of these can be accomplished stealthily by what gets euphemistically hyped as “personalized learning,” or High Quality Project-Based Learning, to use just two current examples of what gets billed as “educational innovation”. Underneath though is what Unger confessed was a needed “reorientation of personal experience…and reconstruction of institutional arrangements, as well as with the radical changes of conception, attitude, and practice that such a combination requires.”

Values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors need to be targeted for change to create the sought new OS for each individual, not because they are the basis for an existing OS’s database of PII. Ideas are a useful vehicle to be the new definition of 21st century knowledge because, as Unger admitted, what is really being sought is a “revolution in human affairs”. That, in turn, requires “both change in consciousness and change in institutions…[where] no simple division exists between the religious and the political spheres of life.”

That quote certainly explains why every type of K-12 education now pushes a Tranzi OBE vision, doesn’t it? At stake are “attempts to influence our ideas about the possible and desirable forms of human association in each domain of social life.” Action learning instead of lectures makes sense for a change in classroom practice in this transformative vision when it is “the ideas we act out in our relations to one another [that] must, more than the ones we profess, be the object of concern.” Weigel was calling for much the same change when he emphasized that religion and education should create a properly cathected individual obedient to instilled values and Ideals. We have also seen this same aim pitched by creativity advocate John Raven as creating a ‘steerable rudder’ at the level of the mind and heart.

Without using the “M” word as I did in the last post, when Unger wrote of the need to “rely on institutional arrangements, established in law [good thing he is at Harvard Law, huh?], that restrain governmental or private oppression even as they secure a universal minimum of endowments to everyone,” it is still Uncle Karl’s ultimate vision he is describing. In the 21st century, preschool to higher ed are all being restructured to target the values and Ideas that guide an individual’s decisions and motivate his actions. This is all hidden for the most part and lied about by so many in the employ of think tanks and the media on all sides because we are no longer free NOT to “change our enacted beliefs about the possible and desirable forms of human association.” Education targets that internalized OS, as a government mandate from all levels enacted as a matter of law, precisely because this “effort to envisage and to establish a greater life for the common man” requires a new purpose for education.

That purpose necessitates new Ideas, practices, and arrangements that will, at a neural level, “bridge the gap between the personal and the political.” Hard to see though under euphemisms like Intellectual Humility, Excellence, or Quality Learning. All of these ultimately target what Unger said would be needed to get what he called Deep Freedom, a much more alluring phrase than that M word.

Having a Growth Mindset or Intellectual Humility as a prescribed goal makes sense if a vision of the future needs “many minds and many wills.” A focus on Ideas and Reading and Thinking like a Historian make sense if a desired transformation “evolves in historical, not in biographical, time.” Criticizing the “imperious, autonomous self” or insisting that students become “Hardwired to Connect” makes sense if one has a vision that “it is not within the purview of the individual, no matter how powerful, to direct.” Making the internalized changes to the student the goal of K-12 education makes sense, as so many of the Portrait of a Graduate or Positive School Climate visions now do, if the political and religious vision of the future relies on:

“a change in the conduct of life: a change of heart, a change of consciousness, a change in the orientation of existence.”

In other words, a new internalized OS. a/k/a student-centered learning.

 

Stripping Away the Veneer of the Imperious Autonomous Self to Create Cathected Identities Instead

Years ago, back when I was a college student, I spent a summer studying at Oxford University in England. I got to pull books and work in the reading room of the Radcliffe Camera and cut through worn stone paths in medieval colleges. For me, historical people and ideas are not something anyone supplied as a useful perspective on how to see the world. These are frequently people I almost feel like I could carry on a conversation with. I certainly have been known to carry on conversations about them. I suppose that is what makes it far easier for me to see when Ideas or people are being misportrayed. If someone has transformational plans for society, our economy, and our political systems and does not want opposition, what better tool than K-12 education? And if you want history to be at the core of a drastically revised curriculum so that “we can leave it to our students to apply their knowledge, values, and experiences to the world they must create,” what better reason can there be to manipulate those values and experiences and the Ideas that are now to substitute for knowledge?

The latter quote was taken from the 1987 “Education for Democracy: A Statement of Principles: Guidelines for Strengthening the Teaching of American Values” that those new Massachusetts standards we met in the last post said was the impetus for all the standards-based education pushes since, including the Common Core. The Ideas come from domain-specific literacy, which Reading Like a Historian said in italics just like that had been created by the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices. As I discovered yesterday when I was at an Emory Law program that sought to interpret the Parkland mass murders through the ‘lenses’ of Domestic Violence and the Legacy of the Lost Cause, the offered Ideas and concepts to guide perception and the interpretation of people and events may have little connection to actual facts on the ground.

Likewise, at a legal program last fall that turned out to be very Idea-centric in what I was supposed to accept with ‘facts’ used merely to illustrate the point, it was very clear to me that the presenter hoped that his audience knew nothing about Henry VIII other than his much-hyped six wives. Likewise, when I read Larry Arnn’s book The Founders’ Key because of Hillsdale’s heavy involvement now in K-12 reform I discovered erroneous examples to illustrate his Ideas from first, Thomas More, and then poor Queen Anne, the last of the Stuart monarchs. My point is that in all these instances it was extensive, preexisting knowledge of the type that is now disallowed unless someone is a voracious, independent reader that led me to recognize that the offered Ideas or illustrating points were inapt.

The Ideas are generally offered up to appeal to emotions and to create motivation to push for transformative change. If, like me, cathected is a new word for you, I found it in the vision of this author  https://nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/democracy-and-its-discontents which had common financing via the Bradley Foundation with the same new history standards called for in 1987 and the communitarian-oriented Council on Civil Society funded in the late 90s and then the 2003 Hardwired to Connect. Weigel’s call for ‘cathected individuals’ who would reject the ‘imperious autonomous Self’ reminded me a great deal of the Tranzi OBE remake of the students pushed in the 90s until it became notorious after Columbine and the Portraits of a Graduate or Learner profiles we are seeing now. It was all originally called for back in 1987 with clear ties to the Rockefeller Foundation, the NEH, and even Martin Luther King’s actual vision via his close friend, Bayard Rustin, who signed.

My dictionary defined cathexis as the “concentration of emotional energy on an object or idea,” which certainly sounds like this new Idea/Conceptual Framework: “we aim at nothing less than helping the student to comprehend what is important, not merely to memorize fact and formula.” “Notions and sentiments” was how the 1987 Education for Democracy also put it. At its core is always the Marxist Humanist vision where “we recommend that a central theme in the study of history be the dramatic struggles of people around the globe and across the centuries to win, preserve, and extend their freedom.” Cathected also fits with this MLK vision released just before his murder, which was cited this week because of its 50th anniversary. https://poorpeoplescampaign.org/index.php/poor-peoples-campaign-1968/  laid out the Bayard Rustin-inspired shift from civil rights to ‘human rights’ with its essential ingredient of economic justice for all. Dr King:

“knew that for the load of poverty to be lifted, the thinking and behavior of a critical mass of the American people would have to be changed.To accomplish this change of consciousness…the poor would have to organize to take action together around our immediate and basic needs. In doing, we could become a powerful social and political force capable of changing the terms of how poverty is understood and dispelling the myths and stereotypes that uphold the mass complacency and leave the root causes of poverty intact.”

That was MLK and ultimately number 1 of those Fundamental Principles is that “We are rooted in a moral analysis based on our deepest religious and constitutional values that demand justice for all. Moral revival is necessary to save the heart and soul of our democracy.” Those new Ideas and values need to be embedded neurally as practiced Habits of Mind. It may only be Catholic educators referring to the ‘cathected’ student, but the concept of cathexis, even if stated through euphemisms, is at the core of all these curriculum reforms throughout every type of education alternative I have reviewed. Having poked around on the Left and recognizing names like Diana Ravitch, Chester Finn, and Bill Bennett on the 1987 document lets look likewise to the supposed Right and what the Charles Koch Institute and other members of the State Policy Network are pushing that gets to the same place.

Back in March I saw an article from the Independence Institute with a title “How to Restore the Founder’s Vision of Liberty for America?”, which sounded rather Idea-centric and contrary to where my personal store of facts would take me. I did notice though that the broad Ideas would fit with the Marxist Humanist vision I keep encountering in my education research (without looking). At its core, it is where both that 1968 MLK position and the 1987 Education for Democracy, and thus the 2018 Massachusetts standards, all intend to go. The article was by a William Watkins so I looked up his background and saw he had been a fellow at the Center for Humane Studies at George Mason. That got my attention with their push of History Matters (covered in last post) and ties to Neuroeconomics. Looking into IHS further pulled up more ties to the insights and individuals we have covered at ISC and in my book Credentialed to Destroy.

Too extensive to lay out here, but every reason to look at their Learn Liberty initiative launched in 2011 to “Explore the ideas of a free society.” Me, I just want to go back to Oxford and get away from that now ubiquitous ‘I’ word, but my knee is still not ready for that much walking. So I settled in with a cup of Lapsang Souchong tea to watch the videos where “we tackle big questions about what makes society free or prosperous and how we can improve the world we live in.” http://www.learnliberty.org/blog/learn-liberty-turns-7/ gets you to what I watched. In case the word ‘Heuristics’ is missing from your vocabulary as it once was in mine, you can substitute other words–Ideas, Concepts, Lenses, or Guiding Principles. If there is a desire to get a ‘change in consciousness’ and a broad segment of the public is to have ‘shared meanings’, few things work better than common learning standards that get at How to Think and Ideas we should use in our decision-making.

I took notes on all three provided videos there and then saw one by economist Deirdre McCloskey (whose book Bourgeois Equality we quoted in the last post) offering up “Marxism in Two Minutes”. She omitted the part about Marx’s Idea of the Human Development Society where a remake of prevailing Ideas and values would be so crucial and just covered that Marx was wrong about the class struggle creating the desired consciousness. McCloskey believes Ideas create consciousness and I think her book title, like the euphemistic Learn Liberty phrase, is really an excellent way to hide the Marxist Humanist template. But like one of those old-fashioned holiday commercials from Ronco I can say “Wait! There’s more!”

Learn Liberty posted a January 8, 2018 video from a professor Howard Baetjer called “What is Communism?” that appears designed to mislead away from the Marxist Humanist visions that are so in play in 2018. The vision MLK wanted, what Education for Democracy sought to create, and what learning standards and competency frameworks also impose, no matter what level of government is pushing them. For anyone without Wolfgang Leonhard’s Three Faces of Marxism: The Political Concepts of Soviet Ideology, Maoism, and Humanist Marxism or Leszek Kolakowski’s Main Currents of Marxism: The Breakdown not just on hand, but read and marked up, I am not calling names or making allegations here. There is a template for little ‘c’ communism and when everyone is using euphemisms and Idea-centric K-12 education to impose that vision without scrutiny, we have every right to notice if we still can.

I think all these videos, but especially that Baetjer one want us to see communism only as “common ownership of the means of production” and never “private ownership”. Meanwhile, the K-12 programs being offered online, in public schools, in parochial schools, in independent schools, and frequently now what gets pushed on homeschoolers via what is eligible for Educational Savings Account reimbursement are ALL Idea-centric and value-oriented.

Have you noticed that all these pushes about Ideas do not seem to want us to strip away from the Idea As Supplied that veneer that it still means what we all traditionally associate with any of these terms? I thought we better start talking about all this while the Internet still remains somewhat free.

I really don’t want my generation to be among the last to have had the liberty to have a genuinely free mind.

Intertwining Architects & Advocates Makes Planned Mind Manipulation Both Tight and Nearly Invisible

Why someone might ask does it really matter that the architects of the News Literacy Project are also the creators of the curriculum for History and Social Studies? Does it really matter that Google is spending $300 million to create a Disinfo Lab to combat Fake News and that $3 million of that will go to creating school curriculum that just happens to also be with the group creating all the above learning standards? All of these actions have an effect of controlling the prevailing Ideas that most students will likely have access to. If you aspire to social or political change, controlling prevailing Ideas is the most effective way in. As economist Deirdre McCloskey put it in her 2016 book “Nothing happens voluntarily in an economy, or a society, unless someone changes her mind. Behavior can be changed by compulsion, but minds cannot.”

That’s not, strictly speaking, true, but the point remains on why changing minds has to be covert. A misunderstanding of education reforms, especially if deliberately created, such as the nature of competency frameworks, social and emotional learning, Classical Education charters, or the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks, just to use a few examples, means that the mind, right down to its very neurons, can be compelled to a desired consciousness. Misled parents and young manipulated students have no True North (to use the last post’s metaphor) to be a tip off to the presence or level of coercion. We cannot resist what we are unaware of, can we? McCloskey also quoted how the “great Marxian historian Gordon Childe declared in 1943 “that “In practice ideas form as effective an element in the environment of any human society as do mountains, trees, animals, the weather and the rest of external nature. Societies, that is, behave as if they were reacting to a spiritual environment as well as a material environment.”

If learning standards and curriculum are being created to control that “spiritual environment” so that the Ideas change the student who then acts differently in, and on, their daily physical environment and that changed environment in turn changes the student further at the very level of the consciousness and physiological brain,  we have an excellent reason for all the deceit. Likewise, we can appreciate why the UN and other international organizations have stated repeatedly that changes in education alone can force the implementation of the Equity for All Agenda globally by 2030. No need for any gulags, in other words, to be a visual tip-off of coercion when Ideas and school curriculum become the tools of choice.

https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/final-report-high-level-expert-group-fake-news-and-online-disinformation came out in March and lays out the New Media Ecosystem and its ability to control prevailing information that both Facebook and Google and other social media companies will be involved in. That “multi-dimensional approach to disinformation” also lays out the Media and Information Literacy efforts to be introduced in the schools and international assessments like PISA to ensure a “reassessment and adjustment of educational policies.” The compulsion suddenly that can both drive and control prevailing ideas that students use to think about their experiences and the world around them is largely hidden from sight at the very time it is asserted as the very remedy for the supposed ubiquity of Fake News and Disinformation.

That does sound so much better than Invisible Censorship before the Fact, doesn’t it? In case, no one reading this has a handy copy of the 1991  MindScience: An East-West Dialogue with the Dalai Lama to use the Inner Sciences perfected by Buddhism over the centuries to create a new vision for education and thus society, let me quote from mine. Thanks to the reader who suggested this after discovering the Mindfulness push in charter schools from the last post. The Ideas that get pushed into classrooms as “the foundation of the Common Core” in the Stanford SHEG-created Reading like a Historian tied to the News Literacy Project or the even more forthcoming Thinking Like a Historian fit with what Harvard Ed Prof Howard Gardner called the “representational level.” Since he was nice enough to “try to simplify,” let’s quote his explanation down to his italics:

“Between the neuronal level–the wetwear that you can touch or at least look at under microscopes–and the cultural level–the notion that there are different cultures with histories and practices and so on–there is a third level of analysis. We call this intermediate level the representational level. This level cannot be touched or seen but it is believed to exist in the head. It entails the notion that we have and use schemata, scripts, ideas, symbol systems and other cognate kinds of mental entities.”

Coerce that representational level then and you control the drivers of perception and future behavior with hardly anyone being much the wiser. How do we know, for sure, that is the area being manipulated if you don’t have a handy copy of the two books I just referred to? Take a look then at http://www.doe.mass.edu/bese/docs/FY2018/2018-01/item2-public-comment-draft.pdf and its vision on page 10 that the purpose of the History and Social Studies Curriculum is “All students in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must be educated to evaluate competing ideas, to understand the past, and to promote the ideals of equality, justice, liberty, and the common good for all peoples in the world.” Methinks, the Dalai Lama would approve.

That link, from January 2018, also links to Recommended History and Social Science Websites that includes News and Media Literacy, the SHEG Reading like a Historian, the UCLA Center for History in the Schools, UNESCO, the World Bank, the OECD, and that National Constitution Center with its communitarian definitions of Freedom and Liberty (the advantages of their being Ideas and not facts is no one is likely to notice the crucial shift).  Other listed websites though tie directly to the deceit around learning standards and also the push for charter schools and school choice via other experimental economic theories like vouchers or Education Savings Accounts. It turns out that a partner of SHEG in transforming “best practices in history teaching and learning” is George Mason University with its History Matters, World History Matters, and Center for History and New Media.

Controlling Ideas is so useful, isn’t it? We can appreciate that factual knowledge really gets in the way of a deliberately controlled narrative when I noticed that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) created the original endowment for the New Media History Center. Before Bill Bennett was Education Secretary he headed NEH so that was his background when he and NGA head Lamar Alexander launched the state/federal learning standards movement via “Project Education Reform: Time for Results” in the mid-1980s. No wonder that push wanted to emphasize Higher Order Thinking Skills (supplied Ideas that act at a representational level) as a key reform. The Rockefeller Foundation had likewise begun funding such disciplinary curriculum reforms in the humanities back in 1980.

Fascinating, since GMU’s History Matters shows it was originally created through funding by NEH and the Rockefeller and Kellogg Foundations. Remember too that the official manual of what constitutes “evidence-based policymaking” in education or any other social sciences was created with Kellogg funding. Suddenly, history thinking and reading becomes a means “for making sense of the present…It allows us to undertake sensible inquiry into the political, social, or moral issues that trouble us…[and] achieve the informed, discriminating citizenship essential to democratic government.” https://www.macmillanlearning.com/Catalog/uploadedFiles/Content/BSM/Discipline/History/Preview_LearntoThinkReadLikeHistorian.pdf is the source of that quote.

Lest there be any question that students are being trained to be historical change makers in just the very way that Marxist Humanism envisioned when it rolled out officially and globally back in 1962, let’s use a further quote from above. “As the past creates the present, it also shapes everything that is still to come. By teaching us that societies and institutions can change, that people have not always been as they are now, and that long-standing conflicts can sometimes be resolved, history can provide guidance for the future. Historical inquiry and understanding cannot tell us precisely what we should do to make constructive change in the world…” Only that students must act to make such change. The curriculum provides the Ideas that it calls historical categories of inquiry. These supplied categories are supposed to “create the mental framework to hang the details that follow” in the form of classroom activities, projects, and online work via those websites cited above.

These categories of thought are supposed to be about history or “the past”, but in reality they become Habits of Mind used daily to confront whatever experiences come a student’s way. If you want to invisibly instill those prevailing Ideas, just embed them in these learning experiences.” I am going to close then with a quote where the … is where I took out the phrase “about the past”. These Ideas or categories of thought then actually manipulate the mind at a level that can only be detected if someone like me writes about it and somebody like you reads this post or my book. Lots of reason then to control the Internet, what will be regarded as valid sources of information, and the learning standards that control what the growing, malleable mind internalizes at a neural level.

“Continuous use of these categories… builds a common language that students can use to direct their curiosity and exploration of any topic…As students learn to think…according to these disciplinary patterns they are freed from notions of history as a collection of facts. History becomes a way of thinking…, rather than details to be recalled as history teachers and tests demand.”

 

Instilling Desired Dreams to Cultivate Personal Identities and Purpose to Achieve New Future Directions

Let’s go back in time again to a 1955 book cited in some footnotes on social and emotional learning. Called Utopia 1976, it alerts us why values, virtues, and imagining a different tomorrow are suddenly the focus of all forms of education. “…we must recognize the most dangerous–those who do not dream at all. Even if the pessimistic dream is defeated, the nondreamers may prevent any Utopia. Dreams are a form of ideas and hence are powerful makers of history. Nineteen seventy-six is of course not ineluctably determined in 1955, but here I write the story as I see it and as it will be–if enough men and women so want it.” From now on, when we hear or read a discussion about learning standards like the Common Core in the US or competency frameworks or learning objectives, I want us to recognize that the actual purpose is to get enough people signed on to a common vision so they are motivated to make it happen.

Math or science class, a book from literature, or a social science project then become vehicles to create a recognition of what the social problems are. They create a means to instill common desired dreams so that people begin to have common mental models of what is wrong and what they must do. Let’s come forward to 2008 to a philosopher and religion professor, John Haldane, I found following up on the False Narrative. The book Seeking Meaning and Making Sense reminds us that “human experience is structured by meanings and values” and whoever controls the prevailing “standards of value and virtue” controls an intermediate layer of our world that most of us rarely pose to think about. That’s the layer that guides our purpose in life and everyday actions and it’s also the bullseye of what many members of that NCSEAD Council of Distinguished Scientists focus on in their remaining academic research. Here’s Haldane again:

“…we are imaginative and creative animals that construct an intermediate surface between ourselves and the purely material world, an intermediate lining on which we draw and colour our compositions.”

Anyone controlling the construction of that intermediate layer, in other words, can drive cultural evolution. Getting at that intermediate layer can be called an SEL focus to prevent bullying and create a Positive School Climate. It can be called creating the attributes or dispositions for good citizenship. It can sold as instilling self-esteem and a sense of agency by creating a Learner Profile of personal characteristics that together amount to a student’s Identity. It’s all the same bullseye, with varying rationales that obscure that reality. One of the members of the NCSEAD Council, David Yeager, turned out to be involved with the New Paths to Purpose Project, funded by the same Templeton Foundation behind so many of the Character-building curricula, the Science of Virtues, the UK Jubilee Center, the US Constitution Center, and the Positive Education push of another member (see tag), Martin Seligman.

Let’s use their definition of purpose and their italicized “central question: How might individuals actively shape–rather than merely inhabit–their environments, and thus become more purposeful, powerful creators of their destiny?” That would actually be ‘our’ destiny given the nature of these plans and the constant use of the community and culture-shaping institutions, so let’s quote that purpose definition–“Purpose is a stable or generalized intention to accomplish something that is meaningful to the self, and often is of consequence to the world beyond the self. Purpose provides a guiding light as we forge a path through the frenzy and chaos of modern life.”

All those constant references in education reform to ‘grit’ and ‘perseverence’ are about practicing to achieve purpose and closing the gap between what is sought and what currently exists. That’s probably why Angela Duckworth was also a member of the NCSEAD Council. That also means we, our children, and our psyches are to be the sources of the experimental research and putting political theories into practice. One more note, Richard Thaler, the U-Chicago prof who won the Nobel Prize in Economics last week, led this NPP Project. Another example of the level of proof and the ubiquity of Templeton funding in this area is the Youth Purpose Project at Stanford with an explicit paper that “Exploring Empathy, Discovering Roles, Shifting Priorities, and Creating Pathways” is the way to shift this guiding light of Purpose.

NPP then turns out to generate the very useful to anyone desiring transformational change-“‘mindsight, dedication, and grit” . Purpose can quietly and invisibly “reflect and propel everyday patterns of human thought and behavior.” Very influential and not what anyone thinks is lurking behind rhetoric about “higher standards and local control” or the constant offering of Classical Education as the panacea to the created controversy over the Common Core and Child Abuse in the Classroom. In case anyone thinks I am picking on Classical Education, remember how its mantra is the True, Good, and Beautiful? This is from the Institute for Cultural Evolution and was a speech given this past July. https://www.culturalevolution.org/political-campaigns/growing-americas-divided-culture/ . It informs us that the “art of intentionally fostering cultural development is still in its infancy.”

The recommended means to foster that development though is by “framing culture in terms of worldviews.” For once that was not my bolding and the definition of worldview fits with what Templeton is funding in the name of Character or Positive Education and how learning standards like Competencies really work as “a worldview is a coherent set of values and ideals that persist across multiple generations. Worldviews are large-scale social agreements about what is good, true, and beautiful [see my concern?]. They give meaning to reality and help us understand the world.” So where Stanford and the Aspen Institute want to lead us in the name of purpose is also where the False Narrative surrounding the Common Core and SEL Standards takes us as well. Let’ s go back to a longer definition again from that same July 2017 paper on cultural evolution.

“In fact, worldviews are arguably the basic units of culture . And while we can certainly identify thousands of different worldviews in American culture, for purposes of understanding cultural development the worldviews that matter most are the historically significant ones that organize society, frame values, provide personal identity, and play a recognizable role in world history.”

In fact, that ubiquitous aim now at controlling internalized worldviews via education and the media is precisely why Larry Arnn’s vision of The Founders’ Key struck me as very similar in effect to where admitted communitarian and transformationalist, Amitai Etzioni, wanted to take us in the name of the New Golden Rule. With Hillsdale’s sponsorship of the Barney Charter School Initiative with its openly-declared Classical Education template we really do have all education leads to Worldview Cultivation in 2017, much as all roads used to lead to Ancient Rome. It’s where the desired action is to get the future influential people hope to achieve. After all, no recognition equals no effective opposition. Other papers in that series on cultural evolution admit that evolving human morality and controlling conceptual cognition are the keys to these plans.

I want to close with a passage from the admittedly progressive and tied to our Search Engine Overlord, New America, called “Building Civic Capacity in an Era of Democratic Crisis” that just came out. It wants to reject what it refers to as ‘exclusionary populism’ by consciously striving to “build constituencies and identities that are more inclusive and accommodating.” So everything laid out in this post, whatever the offered rationale, plays right into using education to do just that. Probably not a coincidence.

Remember how I warned that we cannot fight against what we are unaware of or have been misled about? The transformationalists all want cultural evolution via values and ideas at the level of the mind and personality and they no longer regard democracy as being about elections. No, now “at its core, democracy is fundamentally about a type of relationship between citizen and state–one where constituencies can mobilize and make binding claims on policymaking institutions.”

Those constituencies are built up from students who have Instilled the Desired Dreams and are ready to join together to “play a recognizable role” in history. All that comes quite effectively and invisibly from making education about Worldview cultivation instead of the transmission of knowledge.

All education unless we catch on to the Bait and Switch and how the internalization works.

I am trying my best to warn. Instead of “the British are coming” though, it seems like the 2017 version is that the Deceivers are already Here. They are consciously targeting the ears of any parent or politician worried about these education visions.

Let’s start to pierce these False Narratives so we can really protect our children and this great country.

Everybody In! Instilling the Proper Mode of Human Conduct to Capture Hearts

In the last post, the cited Behavioral Scientist article justifying the need for #Charlottesville Conversations in all schools nationally, in turn cited a 1987 book The Battle for Human Nature by Barry Schwartz. Try not to be too shocked that I have now read that book and took today’s post title from its goals. See if anyone else thinks these aspirations were a good reason to try to create mayhem that tragically escalated, instead of simply serving as a rationale for a certain emphasis for the new school year. Since I have a hard copy I can tell everyone that the Acknowledgments page thanks a “Marty Seigman” who we all know as the Penn Prof behind Positive Education, Prospective Psychology, and Positive Neuroscience that feature so prominently in the actual new ESSA state plans and required Social Emotional Learning Standards now.

Just in case anyone thinks the following quotes cannot actually be anything more than a nerdy discussion, this is was what outcomes-based education was really about. It is what standards-based reforms such as the Common Core or even supposed alternatives like the Catholic Curriculum Frameworks are really about. It’s why we keep running into the phrase ‘human flourishing’ around every corner in education. I also suspect it is what the outcry over the DACA rollback is really about.

“How should society be organized? How should the resources of society be distributed among its members? How much should individual freedom be restricted, and in what ways? What is the extent of our responsibility to other human beings, and to the society to which we belong? What is the proper mode of human conduct, and how should it be instilled in people?”

That instilling in people is what the Tranzi OBE laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy was all about and it is what its new rename as Graduate Profiles and Portraits of a Graduate gets at. My alma mater just put out its “Reflections on the Reformed Tradition  at Davidson College” where it describes the Marxist Humanist vision without using the M word but attributes the necessity for economic and social justice to the Presbyterian view of the world. Funny how it gets to the same place as what we saw with the Special Rome Edition of the 2016 World Happiness Report Vatican laid out for Catholicism or Islam’s Tarbiyah Project for schools. In case your alma mater has not yet added a new “Justice, Equality and Community” distribution requirement to mandate all “students’ intellectual engagement with social issues,” let’s quote the rationale everyone seems to be using to get at the internalized basis of future behavior:

“Educating the whole person involves more than training the intellect; it also involves training the knower’s interests and commitments. This inevitably influences his or her values, character, and behavior. Again, because Reformed believing envisions an expansive human calling (love of God and neighbor, or attention to the broadest ‘public good’), preparation for responsible living [College, Career, and Citizenship Ready?] does not reduce to intellectual training but involves the person’s other capacities as well. Indeed, when people pursue more particular callings or vocations, say as physicians, lawyers, parents, or teachers, the Reformed Tradition construes these lines of responsibility through which they serve others with their minds, hearts, and wills.”

I write books and this blog to do that, but somehow I doubt Davidson would see it that way. Notice you could substitute virtually every religious faith for what they are using the “Reformed tradition” to rationalize. For secular progressives, the word Democracy will substitute nicely as well. Virtually everyone seems intent now on insisting that education “cultivates humane instincts, and creative and disciplined minds for lives of leadership and service.” Again, this is not a new thing as we can see in a book from 1955 that Schwartz cited called Utopia 1976. It spoke openly about a desired “coming revolution of the spirit of man,” which is certainly a good reason for ubiquitous SEL, isn’t it?

The current Davidson statement complained about “those in our society, both conservative and progressive, who would separate faith and reason.” Utopia 1976 wanted that same combination to fuel its “desired revolution of the spirit”. It even provided the reason for all this Mind Arson and Dumbing Down I and others have documented through the years. Notice the use of the word “apperceive” to describe what Davidson called “disciplined minds” and “Marty Seligman” thanked above now calls Prospective Psychology. With Templeton Foundation funding just like the Jubilee Centre that has created the Knightly Virtues curriculum and the Moral Development Framework. If only we had some continuity in these initiatives across the decades, institutions, and countries. Oh, wait.

“We will avoid some of man’s great prior losses that occurred because discoveries came before man had knowledge enough to recognize the novel. We will apperceive what is in front of our eyes, and not only what is behind them. Every human, to lesser or greater degree, has the capacity of hypothesis, imagination, comparison, and reason. And this capacity, affected by environment, can be taught. [Can anyone say ‘inquiry learning’?] Even the art of intuition is not exclusively a matter of genes.

In fact, for some purposes the less informed are often the best equipped to grasp new principles. They are less thwarted by traditional acceptance of formerly held ideas.”

Oh, wow. Let that sink in. Utopia 1976 put this same aspiration even more succinctly by stating that “Dreams are a form of ideas and hence are powerful makers of history.” As a history major, that approach, cultivated deliberately and deceitfully by education, strikes me as quite dangerous. Davidson’s statement called it a desire to “cultivate creativity to affect change” in students. Schwartz in 1987, laying the cited foundation for the Charlottesville Conversations now, said it was all about a vision of human nature that sees it as mutable instead of fixed. If the type of education implemented and social conditions “in which people are at risk” can be changed, then, perhaps, people can be changed so that they operate under “a life of commitment to producing social change.”

The shifts we have all noticed in the curriculum make far more sense once we read Schwartz complain about “Knowing what forces are responsible for keeping the planets moving about the sun does not give people any particular power to control or change them.” No need then for a transmission of knowledge curriculum. Better to focus on creating a new guided moral compass to motivate a change in behavior and a desire to transform the world as it is.That would be “current social conditions” to Schwartz. I guess that would be the world behind us so we can concentrate on the world that might be. Prospective Psychology again or just competency-based education when accurately understood.

So “Knowledge” now is really only worth knowing when “it identifies aspects of the world over which people can exercise some control.” No wonder we keep hearing requirements for relevant, authentic learning. I am going to end this post with another Schwartz quote from his Epilogue as I believe it lays out perfectly why we keep hearing about Outcomes, Objectives, Standards-based Reforms, and Competency Frameworks. Remember how we just keep encountering a desire to use education to force an evolution of prevailing culture? Think about this when we falsely assume that the schools or colleges of today have the same purpose of the ones we attended.

“As culture develops, the paths are changed. Some stop being used and are allowed to fall into disrepair, slowly reclaimed by the wilderness. Others become popular and are lengthened and expanded to make room for all travelers. Culture’s paths are not accidental. They are meant to constrain people to move in some directions and not others; to make some destinations easy to reach and others impossible. These paths are meant to help travelers find their way.”

The paths of desired transformations via education are probably the least accidental of all. It’s why we keep coming across the same vision of the future, but with a variety of justifying rationales depending on the expected audience and what is plausible.

The true desired transformation may not be pleasant to see, but neither is there any doubt what education’s new role is and why it must be ‘student-centered’.

The whole student–head, heart, hands, and will.